Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Keeping busy on all fronts

Woo, it is getting warm out there! Summer doesn't start for another 3 weeks but they're already forecasting 32 degree weather for tomorrow, yowza! Let's see what's been going on... Well, the day on which I last wrote, I ended up going to a Blue Jays game with Stephen and Simone , who were nice enough to provide me with an extra ticket. It was a very fast game, maybe 2.5 hours? The seats were great, in any case -- fourth row, right behind first base. A fun escape, but I could only watch maybe a game or two a year really -- my interest in baseball has fallen way down with age. That was Thursday, and on Friday I went to Bar Wellington to attend a co-worker's birthday gathering. Some drinks and lots of TVO and public television talk. Ah, Force Five, so deeply ingrained in my childhood memories! I love all those shows so much, dearly so.

Saturday was the beginning of the long weekend, and I, well, I had a date during the day. More than that I shan't speak of here, but it went well -- a walk to Cloud Garden, through the downtown and to the water, the sun brilliant off the lake, listening to it lap against the docked boats. In the evening was karate, of which I remember little but I believe we did some sparring, the evidence of which still shows on my shins. Sunday I drove my sister and I to our parent's house for a meal before they go on their cruise around the Mediterranean, which they're on now. I've also been assigned house-sitting duty, so I'll be making the trek up a few more times in the coming weeks. After that I returned home and I Bixi'ed over to Bloor and Avenue to attend a karate anniversary party -- our 4th year together! Of course, I've only been to maybe 40 or something classes in that time, but I have been around since the early days. It was a pretty long night, with us ending up in a hotel room with several bottles of wine. When I finally did leave I was addressed by a homeless person on my way home, who'd suffered a stroke in their past and now walked and moved with difficulty. I took it upon myself to help them: buying them a hot chocolate, smokes, and a cab ride to somewhere (their sister's?). Hanan, she said her name was.

Monday was a full date that also went swimmingly -- a walk through the Distillery District (something I rarely do, amusingly), stopping to eat or drink or browse as we saw fit, as one might do on holiday. Found an unoccupied, unadvertised library. Drank some unpasteurized sake. Was given a tour of a condo being shown by its owners. Had an excellent meal at Pure Spirits restaurant. Walked to Cherry Beach, hung out at an outdoor rave, got rained on, watched a double-rainbow appear as the sun went down. Ok, it was a great date, I'll say no more!

Last week was a busy one for work as our new product, the one we'd been working on intensely since last October (?) was officially launched. It's a vast improvement over our previous offering, and I'm glad to have played some small part in that. What this holds for the future, well, we shall see! I mean, hopefully an increase in sales and back to more carefree and relaxed days at the office -- that would be nice.
Friday I played boardgames with some friends. I cannot remember all the names, but I do recall disliking "Apples to Apples" and enjoying the gameplay of "Ca$h 'n Gun$" despite my initial misgivings. Saturday I went to the Toronto Zoo. It'd been years, many years since I was there (and not including the time we rode there during the blackout) and, heck, I had a BLAST. The weather remained fair (well, fair enough) and we were able to take in pretty much the whole of the park, including the Canadian section. I bought myself a year's membership, and do plan to return. Oh, and we brought lunch and had a fine picnic under the trees -- sandwiches, salad, samosas.

Finally, or nearly finally, Sunday I had afternoon tea at the Windsor Arms hotel, which indeed is a bit of an old-lady thing to do but I'm glad to have tried it, even if the price stuck in my throat afterwards. Then I caught a ride to the AGO, bought a membership, and enjoyed their "Abstract Expressionist New York" show. Hopped onto the subway to meet up with Reg, Elena, Jenning, Margaret and Andrew for some burgers at The Yellow Griffin. I found the burger to be unimpressive, and the bun somewhat dry, though to be fair I was still full of scones and petit fours. Oh, and then back home, shower and change, then up the Downsview line to attend another friend's birthday, a musician who is also a black belt at my school. The highlight was when he and some friends started playing a random tune and everyone in the room picked up an instrument and jammed along. Good times!

Yeah, so I've been busy, as you can see. Busy still I will be -- I bought a festival pass to the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival and will be attending showings every night this week! I'll likely tweet what I see. On Saturday I might be heading out to UW's Hagey Hall to listen to a debate between Christopher Hitchens and Barry Brummet, "Religion, as a literary value, is a force for good." Yup, pretty busy, sucking that marrow dry indeed.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Green belt, feeling alright

Well hello there. Shall I tell you how I've been? Better, better. The weather, as always, helps, and though it is wet it is also warm, a richness of life. Got my green belt, yay. An exhausting test, and one can see me growing older and more haggard in each photo as I find my second, third and umpteenth wind. A good day, and nice to have some familiar faces show up. It looks like I may keep up with my karate this year, who knows.

Work, well, work is work, getting stuff done but hardly feel like talking about any of it. Did you know that I've been there for nearly SIX years? Boggles the mind, it does. No real news, in any case.

Eating well, to be sure. I've been living at my condo for over a year and have only visited the St. Lawrence Market a handful of times. What a world of food I've been missing! This could be my new weekly thing. Breads, vegetables, cheeses, meats... joy!

Oh hey we had that federal election, didn't we? And what rot it was! Egads I get sick just thinking about Rob Ford here and Stephen Harper there... Fort York pedestrian bridge... grumble.... on the plus side, Toronto Bixi is up and running! I do hope it gets fully and completely embraced, that would be ever so grand. I shall sing its praises until then.

Anyway, by all means you may consider my mood improved. For now.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Blasphemous humours

How have I been? Well and not well. Well enough. Yesterday some friends and I attended UFC 129, in Toronto. Entertaining! Quite a few knockouts, lots of action, with only the title card (GSP vs Jake Shields) being a bit of a confusing disappointment. GSP won, but not in a glorious or interesting fashion. And Jake Shields seemed a bit too shy for someone challenging for a title. Fifty-five thousand people smushed into the SkyDome/Rogers Centre, and our seats, being of the 500-level variety, allowed us to take them all in. Ah, the drunken UFC fan was out in full force that day! Before the event, we had a mediocre Korean BBQ experience at the Korean Grill House near Yonge and Gerrard.

Friday I went and saw Grinders with Loopy, a HotDocs documentary at The Isabel Bader Theatre. I knew that some people used poker as a source of income, but I'd no idea of the underground poker culture, or its place in Toronto! Geez I guess I hardly know this city at all. The film was preceded by a very short documentary, about the TTC and suicides -- apparently there's like 1 suicide a week on the transit system! Gah.

Thursday I finished putting my bicycle's rear wheel back together -- I had busted the inner tube riding over a severe pothole on King Street, and while replacing the tube I decided also to clean the chain and gears, a messy, tiresome, and at times frustrating procedure. But rewarding; nothing quite like riding on clean gears! Oh, I visited my friend Andrea on her Environment Days shift near my place before that; just a quick stop and chat. After getting my bicycle back into riding order, I took it out west to Lansdowne and Bloor to see a friend from karate play at Holy Oak, opening for Tropicalia. I enjoyed the music, but found that I didn't really want to stick around.

Tuesday.. Tuesday was karate class, Monday was.. I guess I worked out? I'm trying to get myself ready for this Saturday's testing, though I seem to miss nearly as many workouts as I actually get around to doing. I did one today, certainly -- around a hundred minutes, working on kicks and combos, mostly. Sunday was visiting my parents with my sister. Saturday I saw Source Code in the afternoon with a friend. Oh hey, Source Code was directed by Duncan Jones, the same guy who did Moon! Ha. Anyway, I liked Source Code a lot, but I did feel that some scenes were a bit overplayed, the music unnecessarily highlighting the moment. Actually, if I knew that Jones directed it I'd have expected more, but I'm not surprised he did -- this stuff is right up his alley. Huzzah for sci-fi!

Two Fridays ago (yeah, I guess I should update more often!), after helping Andrea and her boyfriend tune up their bicycles, I sat through April's The GOD-AWfUL [Comedy] Show, a CFI thing. It was actually pretty damn hilarious, and I'm going to try to pull people into attending May's show. If you like blasphemous humours, then this is your event.

And finally, earlier last week I booked my flight, hotel, and bought my ticket for this year's The Amazing Meeting, "TAM 9 from Outer Space"! Embraced the skepticism, this one has.